RaDAR – The most memorable moment for 2015

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I always wondered how the “lossy” 9:1 UNUN fed, multiband, shortened antenna would stand up to a dedicated, single band, tuned end fed and so I did a few tests here in South Africa just the other day on 40m. The 9:1 UNUN fed 16.2m wire antenna stood it’s ground – sometimes outperforming the other!

After this test I felt confident in making it the antenna of choice within my new RaDAR kit which is slightly bigger than the previous kit I used to carry. More space for logistics, for survival is part of the RaDAR operators skills in being a good communicator, anywhere, anytime.

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The real test came where I had taken my RaDAR kit with me where I work just about every weekend on the little house down by the “river without water”. It was the 10m CW contest. I was hoping to make a contact or two but opportunity was dwindling away, fast. Time waits for no one. In desperation I hung my short 16.2 m wire over a tree branch barely two meters above ground at the apex!

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I placed my FT-817ND and tuner on a table inside and connected the 7 A/Hr Gel battery. All was good to go and I connected the short two meter length of RG58cu coax to the balun. 10m was alive with CW activity. The hand key is what I use for RaDAR now. I find in windy / noisy conditions it is sometimes difficult to hear the sidetone while sending. Sending by hand at 12 to 15 w.p.m. seems to be a  little easier.

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I called some really strong callers but none heard me. Who knows, they could be running a kilowatt or more and I only five watts with a “lossy” antenna and certainly not orientated for a low takeoff to DX lands! I did not have much hope for a single QSO but came back again and again to try.

Some operators have really good ears and possibly others leave a CW CQ keyer on to keep the frequency busy but here on 28.0625 I heard Fred NP2X calling CQ. I called him and he heard me. He HEARD me!!! We could even exchange numbers and it didn’t take long either.

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I sent Fred an email later,

Hi Eddie,
Glad we got to exchange numbers in the 10 meter contest.  Nice to know that your portable station made the haul to the US Virgin Islands.  The ZS multiplier is always a welcome addition in my log.  Hope to work you in many future contests!
Very 73,
Fred NP2X / K9VV

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